Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Codelco’s strike: the start of something bigger?

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on July 12, 2011

by Jude Webber for Financial Times – Beyond Brics, July 11th, 2011.

It wouldn’t be hard to beat the last big strike at Codelco, the Chilean state copper miner, 18 years ago. It lasted for 45 minutes. This time around, workers walked off the job from 4 am and union leaders were delighted with the turnout of the 24-hour stoppage, called to protest restructuring plans and fears that the government is plotting to privatise the company (despite its assurances to the contrary).

A day-long strike may still not sound much – but its ramifications could be a lot bigger than any short-term dent in the price of copper.

“The strike is a total success. Radomiro Tomic, Chuquicamata, Gabriela Mistral, El Salvador, El Teniente, Andina and Ventanas are all paralysed,” said Raimundo Espinoza, head of the Federation of Copper Workers, listing the company’s divisions. He urged the government to drop any thought of privatisation or “undoubtedly” face more strikes.

Despite the disruption, the one-day stoppage is not expected to have any lasting impact on production targets for this year, though it has helped unsettle markets. (continue reading… )


2 Responses

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  1. solarchile said, on July 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    It’s hard to believe that this is the first time in 18 years that the union of Codelco’s mine workers has struck. As remote and cutoff from labor supply as these isolated mining towns are, it seems like unions could really exert force on their employers, even if they are the state-run behemoth Codelco. Thanks for keeping the Latin American community abreast with Political Risk, and feel free to check out my blog covering solar development projects in Chile.

    • politicalrisklatam said, on July 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      First of all, thanks for your comment!
      Secondly, congratulations on your blog. Information about solar development needs to be spread more often.
      If you agree, let’s keep in contact via twitter. We’ve just followed you.


      Political Risk Latam Team

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